Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Organizations for the Blind file suit against Kindle program

The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind have announced that they've filed a discrimination lawsuit against Arizona State University, claiming that the University’s Amazon Kindle DX Pilot Program discriminates against the blind. Although the Kindle DX features text-to-speech technology that can read textbooks aloud to blind students, its menus are not accessible to the blind, making it impossible for a blind user to purchase books from Amazon’s Kindle store, select a book to read, activate the text-to-speech feature, and use the advanced reading functions available on the Kindle DX. In addition to ASU, five other institutions of higher education are deploying the Kindle DX as part of a pilot project to assess the role of electronic textbooks and reading devices in the classroom. The NFB and ACB have also filed complaints with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, asking for investigations of these five institutions in the pilot program: Case Western Reserve University, the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, Pace University, Princeton University, and Reed College.

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